Blue Mound Purchases Their Public Water System
The small blue collar community of Blue Mound is without a police chief after the city council voted to fire Randy Baker.
The vote to fire Baker was 4-1 with Councilwoman Linda Watson voting against the motion to terminate the police chief. Council members Margie Hooks, Fred Smith, Mary Smith and Darlene Copeland voted to fire Baker.
Watson said after the meeting that she felt Baker was doing a good job at reestablishing trust in the police department.
Baker was hired five years ago as a narcotics officer and as a lieutenant before becoming police chief in 2017. Baker was fired for unprofessional behavior after Mayor Alan Hooks accused him of “flipping off” two water department workers, a claim that Baker denies.
When asked if he was surprised about the vote to terminate him, Baker said ”absolutely not.”
Baker said he filed complaints with several enforcement agencies, including the Tarrant County District Attorney, the Texas Rangers and the Texas Comptroller’s office.
“It was a plethora of violations, misuse of funds was one of them,” Baker said. He said the complaints were filed against Hooks and the city secretary.
Baker described how Hooks told him that he had to have a meeting with the officers to tell them to write more citations. “I said ‘Mayor, that is illegal and I’m not going to do it.’ The mayor said, ‘Well, I am going to have to dock their pay $400.’ ”
Hooks said Blue Mound’s citation revenue was down 70 percent over last year’s amounts.
Hooks said he has not heard from the district attorney’s office regarding Baker’s complaints.
Hooks and Baker also clashed over discussions to contract with the Tarrant County Sheriff’s Office for police services. Baker said Hooks repeatedly threatened to disband the police department.
Hooks had told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that he asked for information on how much it would cost, but said that such a change involves holding two public hearings.
Hooks said Blue Mound faces tough choices after state legislation passed capping the amount that cities can increase the property tax rate to 3.5 percent.
Baker came to Blue Mound after he was fired from his job as a resource officer in the Carroll school district. Baker was fired for handcuffing an autistic student.
The student’s parents sued the city of Southlake and Baker, but the suit was dismissed when a federal judge said that Baker acted reasonably under the circumstances. Hooks said that he thought at the time that Baker was “railroaded” and that Blue Mound wanted to help him out.
Meanwhile, Baker’s attorney, Randy Moore said he is waiting to receive the chief’s termination letter from the city, and will likely file a whistleblower suit against Blue Mound.
Blue Mound has a detective, six patrol officers, the police chief and four dispatchers to cover a city of around 2,500 people, Hooks said.